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Pope Francis avoids greeting pilgrims after increase of coronavirus cases in Italy

Pope Francis surprised pilgrims at his weekly catechesis by not stopping to greet them as he usually does. He entered through the door to the Paul VI hall platform and began his catechesis right away. On previous occasions, he had given his catechesis from below, to be closer to and on the same level as pilgrims. The reason for this change is clear.

I would like to do what I usually do: go down close to you to greet you. However, with the new norms, it's better to maintain distances. To the sick, I warmly greet them from here. Keep a prudent distance, as should be done, because when I come down there, everyone gets close and forms crowds.

The pope, who is characterized by his closeness to the people, has decided to sacrifice that because of the coronavirus.

During the Audience, he continued his catechesis on prayer. He stopped to reflect on the Psalms, calling them “a cry for help” waiting to be heard by God, the only one who never turns his back on anyone.

This is important. When we go pray, we go because we know we are important to God. That's why I go pray. This isn't something you think, but something you know. It's the grace of the Holy Spirit that pushes you toward this wisdom: that you are precious in God's eyes.

The pope explained that no two pains are the same because what one person suffers is unique. He also said that before the General Audience, he had met with the parents of an Italian priest who had been murdered while serving those in need.

The tears of those parents are theirs, and each of them knows how much they suffered upon seeing their son give his life while serving the poor. The tears... My pain is mine, my tears are mine. With those tears and with that pain, I go to the Lord.

Coronavirus cases are increasing once again in Italy and in the Vatican, where four Swiss Guards and three other staff members have tested positive. That's why it looks like this will be the format for upcoming General Audiences.

Javier Romero
Translation: CT